Jo-Anne enrolled in an Online TOEFL Course called “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT.” While preparing for the intense English proficiency exam, she discovered that materials; a pronunciation, speaking, and writing iBT specialist; motivation; and plain old-fashioned hard work were integral in helping her achieve a high score on the TOEFL iBT.
First of all, in order for Jo-Anne to score high on the TOEFL exam, she has been working hard studying the appropriate academic content in her Online TOEFL Course; that is to say, she has been studying vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, reading, listening, writing, and speaking materials aimed at the advanced language learner. Moreover, the 1,700 vocabulary words that Jo-Anne is studying are recyled in the other six sections of the course: pronunciation, grammar, reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Materials writer and founder of her Online TOEFL Course Michael Buckhoff wanted to make certain that his students would get a working knowledge of the vocabulary words so that it would be more likely that his students would recognize the words in listening and reading passages and be able to use them during the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL exam.
The second thing that Jo-Anne realized was that, in addition to having the appropriate academic materials to help her advance her academic English proficiency, she would need to get daily feedback from a TOEFL iBT pronunciation, speaking, and writing specialist. First, her TOEFL iBT pronunciation specialist Michael Buckhoff merged his stand-alone “Speak Clearly Course for Non-Native Speakers of American English” with his Online TOEFL Course so that Jo-Anne would be able to complete 48 pronunciation lessons to improve her mastery of vowels, consonants, syllable division and grammatical word endings, word stress, sentence rhythm, intonation, thought groups, and blending. Unique to this Online TOEFL Course, diagnostic pre-tests and a post-test were taken by Jo-Anne so that she could pinpoint exactly on which pronunciation lessons she needed to focus.
Like the pronunciation section, her TOEFL iBT specialist provided feedback each time she took an independent or integrated speaking and writing practice test. In total, her Online TOEFL Course provided her 50 speaking and 20 writing practice tests, and each time Jo-Anne would get written, audio, or video feedback. The process was quite simple: every time she took a practice test, her iBT speaking and writing specialist would give her a score, recommend specific lessons to help her improve (her Online TOEFL Course has more than 330 lessons!), and, after reviewing those lessons, she would take another practice test to measure her progress.
The third and fourth key ingredients to getting a high score required Jo-Anne to have the motivation and hard work ethic needed to help her stay focused until she reached her TOEFL goals. In order to stay motivated, Jo-Anne asked herself this question every morning when she awoke from a peaceful slumber, “Why do I want to score higher than 100 on the TOEFL exam?” Of course, she wanted to become a pharmacist, and to become one, she would need to score high on the TOEFL exam since her native tongue is Turkish. Therefore, she kept reminding herself each day why she needed to pass the TOEFL iBT. Furthermore, Jo-Anne was not just motivated to learn English just for her job, but she also had a genuine interest in learning English so she could communicate with her newly found friends since she had moved to the United States six years ago. Since Jo-Anne was motivated to learn English to score over 100 on the TOEFL exam, she was also determined to work hard to realize her goals.
How hard was she willing to work? Well, during her first month of using her Online TOEFL Course, she set time aside each week to study vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. On Mondays and Wednesdays se would study vocabulary for 3 hours on each day: making vocabulary flash cards, downloading vocabulary sound files, completing and reviewing hundreds of quizzes and cumulative vocabulary exams. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she would practice the pronunciation exercises recommended by her iBT pronunciation specialist for 2 hours each day. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, she would spend 2 hours each day studying grammar, often writing and rewriting the advanced grammar structures she was studying. Then she would try to use the new structures in her speech on a daily basis.
During her second and third month of completing the lessons in her Online TOEFL Course, she studied the listening, reading, speaking, and writing sections with the same intensity. For example, like she did the first month, she would set aside time each day to learn the lessons and to complete the listening, reading, speaking, and writing practice tests. It was frustrating for Jo-Anne for a while because, even though she had learned the vocabulary and grammar sections of her course, she still had difficulty controlling her language use during the speaking and writing tasks. However, with practice, Jo-Anne, using a combination of basic and advanced grammmar and vocabulary, slowly but surely was able to more accurately complete her speaking and writing practice tests. Therefore, soon enough, she will be ready to reach her goals when she takes the official TOEFL iBT exam. And her whole preparation took her about 3 months.
“Is three months a long time to prepare to score high on the TOEFL iBT?” you wonder. Not really if you ask Jo-Anne.
|This article was written by Michael Buckhoff–co-founder and materials writer for Better TOEFL Scores and The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT, Composition and Linguistics Professor, TOEFL Specialist, ESL Master Instructor, and Placement and Testing Coordinator for California State University, San Bernardino.Follow more posts and videos from Michael at Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.|